I love inventive picture book rhymes, snappy refrains, and fantastical figurative language as much as anyone, but sometimes a story works best just simply told. In this book, Thompson tells us the story of a disabled Ghanaian man beautifully but without any bells and whistles. It’s unadorned storytelling:
“In Ghana, West Africa, a baby boy was born: Two bright eyes blinked in the light, two healthy lungs let out a powerful cry, two tiny fists opened and closed, but only one strong leg kicked.”
So begins the moving story of a disabled boy who fights to convince the people around him that “being disabled does not mean being unable.”
The “Author’s Note” at the end gives an update on what the title character is doing these days (and you can follow his blog here), but even without the back matter the story is uplifting and inspiring, a story well-told.
Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson, illustrated by Sean Qualls. Schwartz & Wade: 2015.